Thursday, 6 October 2011

When I Was Young (ish) ......

Once upon a time BC (before children) I worked at the local newspaper. Pregnant for the first time, with twins, I wrote a series of articles about impending and new motherhood. These are some of those articles 15/ 16 years after they were first published.

Copies of newspaper articles

Last stop before motherhood
(published November 17 1995)

  I'm big. Big enough for people to begin looking out a couple of towels and boiling up water as I hove into view.

  I feel like a magnificent stately whale, but I walk like a duck and the end seems a lifetime away.
  There's nothing to do now but wait.
  When I first discovered I was pregnant, I didn't quite know what to expect beyond the vague technical details - get sick, get big, get bigger, give birth. Now I know better.
  Pregnancy wreaks havoc on both body and mind. It's a sheer horror of constant backache and heartburn. Never, ever finding a comfortable position to sit, stand or sleep, getting up in the middle of the night and falling asleep in the middle of the day - And I've had an easy pregnancy so far.
  There are cravings. So far I've gone through several passions - Dairylea and banana sandwiches, grapefruits, cold toast and marmalade, cream buns, raw carrots .... but still there's always something I want and I just can't think what it is.
   And there's revulsion. The complete inability to catch even a sniff of lager without wanting to waddle bucket-wards. THIS from a woman who tackled the Westgate Run (infamous Wakefield pub crawl), and won, at the beginning of the year.
   But aches, moans and being sick aside, I am inordinately proud of my huge bump. A nice bump as bumps go. I have conversations with it, play it Tom Jones and never let it watch daytime TV. In response it keeps me awake at nights and occasionally dances.
   The world in general seems to like you a lot more when you're pregnant. Complete strangers smile in the street and family and friends become frightening solicitous.
   Demand a bottle of Grapefruit Crush with a pathetic look on your face, and the husband is haring off before you can say: "Make that a....."
   Pregnancy gives you the opportunity to be spoiled rotten and the bad temper not to appreciate it. It gives everyone else the opportunity to ooh and ahh and tell you you're blooming when you know you look like an overweight Freddy Krueger.
   So, bloated and with brief moments of blind panic, I'm waiting until the nine months are up and my children's lives begin.
   But first I must apologise to the residents of Ossett who will no doubt be woken early one morning in the not-too-distant future by the unquiet celebrations of a brand new grandmother.

Mother with newborn twins

From a bulge to two little beauties
(published January 12 1996)

   AFTER 38 weeks and one false alarm my legs were beginning to buckle and even the medics were getting bored with my ever-burgeoning condition.
   Twins are usually born early but either mine didn't know that or theywere preparing to sit it out for the duration.
   Inducing the birth while I was still capable of movement (just) seemed like the answer and so I reported to the hospital labour ward extremely early on Wednesday, December 20, with my bump intact and a big bag of nighties (for me) and nappies (for them).
   Without going into unseemly medical detail, induction attempt number one failed. The second attempt the following day fared no better and each night the bump and I were confined to the ante-natal ward with calm assurances that "it" could happen any time. It didn't.
   By Friday December 22, family and friends were moving on from anxious and caring inquiries to hasn't-she-had-them-yet exasperation.
   The husband was bored reading newspapers and watching me drink Cup-a-Soup in my nightie. Something had to give.
   And give it did when, waters artificially broken (you don't want to know) and hooked up to drips and machines galore, I at long last embarked on a labour that nothing was going to stop.
   The next 12 hours passed in something of a blur. Well, the next ten hours passed in something of a blur, the last two I'll probably never forget - in the edited edition I was incredibly brave, serenely ladylike and no word stronger than "piffle" passed my lips.
   In a labour room positively brimming with people - doctors, midwives, a paediatrician, an anaesthetist in the corridor and the husband masquerading as a tower of strength - I watched Coronation Street between pushes.
   At 8.18pm Emily Charlotte Rose weighed in at 5lbs and 5oz and 16 minutes later was joined, bottom first, by Eleanor Daisy Louise at 4lb 4oz.
   It was utter hell on earth to do but the sheer euphoria of producing two beautiful baby daughters makes absolutely everything - from swollen ankles to the screaming agony of labour - worthwhile. Everyone revels in telling horror stories when you're pregnant but no one mentions what it feels like when the pushing stops. It's climbing Mount Everest, winning an Oscar, Miss World and the lottery all rolled into one. It's a rush like no other and I'd do it all over again.
   But I'm not going to. At least, not yet....

Twins on the sofa

Dynamic duo rule the roost
(published October 11 1996)

   AT the moment number one daughter is rolling around the floor wrestling Tigger and daughter number two is scaling the sofa for the nth time.
   The room looks like the victim of an intensive bombing campaign by the Early Learning Centre and the washer is washing, again.
   Now just over nine months old, Emily and Eleanor are two of the most sociable, cheerful, adorable and downright wonderful people you could ever wish to meet.
   They are also extremely noisy and quite incredibly destructive.
   Despite half the contents of every toy shop in Yorkshire at their disposal, my little angels would rather rip apart the book Mummy has given up trying to read, or eat the newspaper.
   They might have 100 squeaky, rattling, rolling, flashing, all-singing, all-dancing toys, but not one of them can match the pleasure of the television remote control or indeed, eating your own sock, or each other's socks.
   Now that both of them can get to their feet, nowhere is safe.
   The contents of the bookcase are permanently on the floor and every ornament in the house has been relegated to a cardboard box.
   After three days without a phone call, I discovered the cord had been disconnected, and so that too is cunningly hidden.
   It's chaos, but it's wonderful chaos. Being the mother of twins is tantamount to inviting a regiment of the SAS to use your home for manoeuvres and, I have been told, it can only get worse.
   "Wait until they're walking," say some. "Wait until they're teenagers," say other doom merchants.
   I'm quite convinced these people have never had children, they wouldn't wish their lives away so easily if they had. Every day is an adventure for all of us.
   Emily and Ellie seem to learn something new each day while I discover being a mother is about 12 times more enjoyable than anyone ever said it was.
   Enjoyable it might be, but easy it's not - you don't need qualifications, there's no exams, no time off. You don't work regular hours, and you don't get paid. Motherhood - there's nothing quite like it.

The Twins as teenagers
Emily Charlotte Rose and Eleanor Daisy Louise 2011


  1. That was so lovely to read! I can't begin to imagine life with small twins. Rory runs me ragged as it is (although it must be noted that one of the women I went to NCT classes with had incredibly placid, easy going twins, and one day when they were in nursery she helped me out by looking after 7 month old Rory for half an hour while I went to an appointment. When I came back she was tearing her hair out and desperate to get back to the twins. Enough said). I really enjoyd your articles, and how nice to have them to look back on. Your girls are utterly beautiful by the way.

    PS I also have experience of the Westgate Run. (Went to uni in Wakefield!)

  2. What beautiful daughters you have. So amazing to look back on those (naive) thoughts before childbirth and then the realities of having children. And now look at them, all grown up! Great articles :) Thank you for sharing on oldies but goodies this week.


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